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  • 12/25/2012

Principle of Equality

part 1


In Islam, everyone, even the Exalted Prophet (PBUH), are equal in the eye of law.

Equality in the Doctrine of the Noble Prophet (PBUH) The   equality   decreed   by   Islam   and   practically implemented by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is unique in the history of mankind. In the logic of the Holy Qur'an, human beings are all from one source and are the offspring of one single pair of parents without any difference among them.

“The bondman and the master are but one in the eyes of the Qur'an, So is the spread of straw or a silken seat”‌

In the logic of the Holy Qur'an and in the light of the holy Prophet's behavior and practice, neither a white-skinned person has any privilege over a black-skinned person or an Arab over a non Arab, and neither the rulers over the citizens. All people are equal in the society with no special privileges and are entitled to all basic and social rights. Islam has negated all notions of supremacy, ethnic privileges and discriminations. It clearly states:

“O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! The noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.”‌

Thus no person has priority over the other, unless in terms of piety. The holy Prophet emphasized equality in social and basic rights at even the most important and sensitive junctures. When Mecca surrendered and Islamic rule was fully established, the Messenger of God delivered a sermon and declared Islamic equality for all: “O' mankind! Beware that your God is One and your father (Adam) is one. So know that no Arab has priority over a non Arab, or a black over a white, or a white over a black, unless in piety. Have I proclaimed (this truth)? They said: Yes. He said: Those present convey the message to the absentees.”‌

The Seal of Prophets has said that the criterion for the worth and value of a tribe or a clan is neither color and ethnicity nor possessions and wealth. The Prophet negated all that was considered as worth and value during the era of ignorance, and announced the equality of mankind in its true sense””the value of human beings lies in their piety, knowledge, cognizance of God, character and virtue. Imam Jafar Sadiq (A.S) has quoted the Prophet as saying:

“The most worthy of the people are the most learned and the most worthless of them are those who have the least knowledge.”‌

Thus the worth of mankind is not based on superficial elements and social status. It is the inner and true criteria that have a positive and useful onset, and piety is the yardstick. As Imam Khomeini (R.A) puts it:

“According to the prophets and the saints of God, and above all the Holy Qur'an and the Noble Prophet it is piety on which true worth is based. The yardstick is piety and wisdom blended together. Wisdom alone is no good, neither is piety all by itself. If not useless its value is not significant.”

Equality in Islam has hence been formed and has resulted in suitable social and political interaction which has eliminated discrimination in all general areas with people enjoying their civil rights in all walks of life based on equality. As Imam Khomeini puts it:

“According to Islam the first man of the country is no different from a peasant, or even lower in terms of benefiting from material goods. Freedom of thought has always existed in Islam - since the days of our Imams (peace upon them) -and right from the days of the Noble Prophet (PBUH) himself it has been free.”‌ 

The most important step in achieving equality is that the rulers should have no priority over things that are for the public and should not tarnish themselves with oppression and discrimination due to the power they wield. In his famous set of instructions to Malik Ahstar””the Governor of Egypt””Imam Ali (A.S) says:

“Beware of the thing you want to have for yourself since all people are to benefit from it equally.”‌

Imam Ali (A.S) has also said:

“People's deeds, in righteous matters have to be equal in your eyes.”‌

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) took a fundamental step in promoting equality. Imam Khomeini (R.A) says in this regard: “The government ruling over the society was no different from   the   public;   they   even  had   a  less   normal   life. Governments didn't want to rule over people, they wanted to serve them.”‌

So go and observe behavior and practice of the Noble Prophet (PBUH) who was the most prominent person and Founder of Islam and guidance for the people. Did he ever crave for power? When he was among friends, color of skin and ethnicity made no difference to him.


Behavior and Character of the Holy Prophet of Islam from Imam Khomeini's Viewpoint  

Written By: Mostafa Dilshad Tehrani 

Translator: Ali Shahbaz

Other Links:

The Principle of Devoting to Worship (part 1)

The Principle of Devoting to Worship (part 2)

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